LIKE “young lions rampant,” observed the Glasgow Herald on the morning of May 8, 1968, “the Scottish National Party roared ... into the corridors of local government in Scotland ... at the municipal elections. Glasgow and Aberdeen, with their first anti-Socialist councils for 16 years, Edinburgh, Dundee, Paisley, Clydebank and many smaller towns felt the weight of a Scottish Nationalist vote going almost entirely in protest against Labour.”

Labour lost control of Glasgow Corporation for the first time since 1952, with 12 SNP gains from Labour and one from the Progressives, and one Progressive gain from Labour. The new council was Progressives and Conservatives 54 seats, Labour 44 and SNP 13. Edinburgh remained in Progressives’ control, though the SNP gained seven wards from Labour and came second in the other 13 wards. SNP chairman Arthur Donaldson predicted that the day when his party would control Glasgow was not far away. Of the nationwide performance he said: “I think this is evidence that the swing to the [SNP] is not only continuing, but intensifying.”

The photograph shows some of the party’s victorious Glasgow candidates. From left: A. McIntosh (Cowcaddens), George Leslie (Pollokshaws), Isobel Lindsay (Dalmarnock), W. Morton (Springburn), W. Lindsay (Shettleston and Tollcross) and A. Campbell (Cowlairs).

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Herald Diary

A Herald leading article said the SNP success had denied the Progressives and Conservatives the kind of progress they might have expected at the expense of an ‘extremely unpopular’ Labour government. Labour and the Conservatives now had to take heed of the public support for the SNP and seek to improve Scotland’s position within the UK.